As with all other medical specialties, podiatrists are required to pass a qualifying exam before they can begin practicing. Before you can obtain a license to practice podiatry in the state where you live, you must first obtain and complete an orthopedic foot and ankle examination by your state board of podiatry. This certification will entitle you to work as an orthopedic podiatrist in any state, regardless of which podiatry medical specialty school you go to.
Podiatrists are health care providers who can diagnose, treat, and cure problems relating to the feet, ankles, and lower legs. They can perform treatments for such conditions as foot problems, sports injuries, bone disorders, gout, tennis elbow, and plantar fasciitis. An orthopedic foot and ankle doctor are also known as a podiatrist.
Most people refer to an orthopedic doctor as physical therapists. In fact, it is often difficult to distinguish between the two specialties, at least to a layman. This is because most podiatrists work closely with physical therapists and they often work alongside physical therapists at physical therapy facilities and in their offices. Physical therapists deal with problems pertaining to the feet, ankles, and lower legs.
As with other health care providers, podiatrists are responsible for performing a series of tasks to help their patients with their problems. When you visit your podiatrist, he or she will take a medical history, perform a physical examination, and evaluate the condition of your feet. The podiatrist will also work with you on a variety of treatment options that you can choose from.
Podiatrists perform very similar procedures as those performed by orthopedists, although they differ in the number of procedures that they perform. They may perform procedures on your feet as part of their routine checkups, or they may provide further diagnostic procedures to help with your problem. If the podiatrist believes that your problem stems from a serious condition, he or she will likely order an MRI or X-rays to determine the root cause of your problem.
Podiatrists often use ultrasound to help diagnose joint issues. They may also perform osteotomies, which involve the removal of the ball and socket, or microdiscectomies, which are small scalpel-like knife operations that cut away the top layer of the bone to remove the disc in your foot. Podiatrists may also provide invasive surgical procedures that may involve removing bone spurs form around the joint.
The typical podiatrist will also perform diagnostic procedures to determine what the causes of your condition are. He or she will often use x-rays to examine your bones and joints to see if there is bone spurs, disc problems, or joint degeneration. If you have an injury, he or she will likely perform an exercise program to help you strengthen your muscles and recover from your injury.
To be a podiatrist, you must be prepared to take the bar exam that all foot doctor must pass in order to practice medicine. This examination is an oral exam in which the podiatrist will ask you questions concerning your medical history, past medical conditions, and the type of foot problems that you experience. Although podiatrists may perform minor physical interventions and perform treatments, these services are considered incidental to the primary work of the podiatrist. You may need a physical therapist in order to properly perform all procedures and treatments that your podiatrist performs.